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J Reprod Dev. 2007 Dec;53(6):1175-82. Epub 2007 Sep 4.

Mos and the mitogen-activated protein kinase do not show cytostatic factor activity in early mouse embryos.

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Laboratory of Applied Genetics, Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Science, University of Tokyo, Japan.


Mos and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade have been established as crucial regulators of second meiotic metaphase arrest, the so-called CSF arrest, in mammalian oocytes. They are also thought to play a role in regulating mitotic metaphase arrest of early mammalian embryos. In the present study, we examined whether mitotic arrest is induced in early mouse embryos by activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs), which are major MAPKs in mouse eggs, and their substrate, p90Ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK), as reported in Xenopus embryos. Wild-type Mos (wt-Mos), degradation-resistant Mos mutant (P2G-Mos) or constitutive active mutant of MAPK/ERK kinase, MEK (SDSE-MEK), was expressed in early mouse embryos by injecting the respective expression vectors into the pronucleus of fertilized eggs, and the developmental rates were then examined up to 72 h after insemination. Expression of P2G-Mos and SDSE-MEK succeeded in activating ERKs and RSK in developing mouse embryos, while wt-Mos failed to activate them in spite of expression of mos mRNA, indicating that the wt-Mos protein is unstable in early mouse embryos. Although the activated levels of ERKs and RSK in the vector-injected embryos were comparable to those of meiotically arrested mouse oocytes, their developmental rates were identical to those of the control embryos. These results suggest that activation of MAPK and RSK does not induce mitotic arrest in early mouse embryos. The present study indicates that there are large physiological differences between early mouse embryos and mouse oocytes and that CSF arrest of mouse eggs in mitosis should be discussed separately from that in meiosis.

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